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Oh, New Orleans. If I had to pick one place in the South to attend a wedding in, it would be this romantic, historic city in Louisiana, and Nolan and Steve’s secret garden-esque wedding is only making that desire stronger! The New Orleans Botanical Garden was the perfect place for our Blue Ribbon Vendor, Elyse of Tying the Knot, to bring Nolan and Steve’s vintage, organically glamorous vision to life. Emily and I are headed to Bridal Market this week, and I must say, Nolan’s striking Claire Pettibone dress has me more excited than ever!

Thank you kindly to Ashleigh Jayne for sharing this lovely day with us!

Tell us about finding your wedding dress. I knew I wanted something off-white or gold, and I wanted it to scream vintage and delicate. I had done a lot of research, so I knew Claire Pettibone was my best bet. As soon as I put my dress on, I knew it was the one. Luckily, Claire was visiting from California and she worked with me to ensure that the dress would fit my petite frame perfectly. Her meticulous attention to detail and that lace truly set the tone for the wedding. I see my dress as a piece of art. It is currently on a vintage form in our house so I can see it every day!

Describe your wedding flowers. Kim Starr Wise and her team added our pop of color. My florals included camellia foliage (my ode to the South), olive branches (to symbolize peace), peonies, ranunculus, dahlias, and green amaranthus. Kim also created this amazing garland that draped the large tree at our ceremony to create an ethereal effect. It was gorgeous!! She also created several organic wreaths that lined the aisle and were repurposed on the reception walls.

Did you decide to do a “first look”? Why or why not? Yes! Steve and I have so many mutual friends and we are so close to each other’s families, so we wanted to get pictures out of the way so we could spend time with them. I was most looking forward to the cocktail hour because it was around a koi pond with string lights at dusk, and I didn’t want to miss that! It was so lovely to see each other prior to the ceremony.

Instead of writing our own vows, we are going to say vows at a personal ceremony on our first anniversary. I think a lot of growth occurs in the first year of marriage, and it is important to look back over the year and see how you can improve, communicate more effectively, and grow as an individual to better your marriage. One thing we changed in our ceremony was the wording at the end of our ceremony from, “You can now kiss the bride” to “You can now kiss the love of your life,” to make it less traditional and more about the union between the two of us.

What made you choose your ceremony and reception venues? Did they have any special significance to you? New Orleans is the perfect place to represent the South’s diverse culture and our delicious cuisine. The soundtrack of our souls fill the cobblestone streets and the old oaks covered in Spanish moss paint every background. The French aura, old architecture, and richness are the definition of romantic. My husband and I don’t plan on moving down South anytime soon, so I knew this was my one chance to show our friends and family where I come from. We wanted an ethereal, natural setting that complimented our vintage glam theme, and we could not have found a better venue than the New Orleans Botanical Gardens situated in the heart of City Park. We wanted it to feel like a secret garden wedding, where people could roam the gardens into the dark hours and enjoy the scenery beyond the wild dance floor. The Botanical Gardens were the perfect backdrop to our day of love.

I worked with an outstanding team of vendors, and of course, my wedding planner, Elyse, was our glue. My vision changed several times, but I always stuck to my core: it had to be vintage, feel organically glamorous, be in a garden, integrate the oaks, and have epic music. Like most things in my life, I wanted to create an imperfect medley of the old and the new. I randomly found Steve’s lion cufflinks at a flea market, ordered vintage stamps that illustrated the states we have lived in, wore my great grandmother’s ring as my “something blue,” and found wedding photos from the 1800’s to add rich history to our tables.

Our first dance was “Into the Mystic” by Van Morrison, as it depicts the journey that marriage truly is. Music is life’s soundtrack, so we also made an album that our guests can listen to forever.

How did y’all meet? Tell us your love story. Over ten years ago, I dug up my firmly planted Southern roots and ventured out west to Colorado. In exchange for the hundred-year-old oaks, I was surrounded by rugged Rocky Mountains and narrow aspens that rained gold in autumn. Looking back on it now, I’d say giving up that sweet tea was worth it because I found the one soul that makes mine complete. Steve and I met during the first week of college, and it was not love at first sight. I was straight out of LA, “Lower Alabama,” and he was a too-cool-for-school Southern Californian. As a petite lil’ lady, I saw him and immediately jumped into his lap for a bear hug. Not. So. Fast. He had boundaries and I crossed them. It took many months for our friendship to blossom and we did not start dating until two years into college. I told him I’d marry him after the seven-year itch and we got married a month shy of our eight-year anniversary.
Tell us all about the proposal! We went to college together in Boulder, Colorado. We didn’t hike often, but when we did go, we always went on one particular trail. After college, we moved to San Diego and then relocated to Denver. One Saturday morning, Steve planned a hike to go on “our” mountain, and we packed a bottle of wine and cheese, remembering that it as a long, hard hike. It only took us 30 minutes! We were at the top of the mountain in no time, and I wasn’t about to start drinking at 10 A.M., so we each had our coconut water instead. He had me pour it into a dixie cup (which was odd) and then we said a toast. We toast with something we’re grateful for for every drink or meal, so this wasn’t unusual, but then he went pale. I asked him if he was okay and stepped away to look at the view of Boulder. Seconds later, he came up behind me and presented the ring. Of course, when he asked, I said yes!
When did y’all get married? April 12, 2014
How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? 175
Tell us about some of the songs you used throughout your wedding and why you chose them. I had the bridal party walk down the aisle to Fleetwood Mac’s “Landslide.” I think this song is one of the most beautiful songs ever written, and it is also so meaningful–our entire wedding party consisted of mutual friends who have been with me and Steve since day one. I approached my soon-to-be husband to “Fools Rush In” with the irony that it took us eight years to tie the knot.
Describe your wedding cake or dessert. Cheryl at Bittersweet Confectioners made the most delicious and gorgeous cake a bride could ask for. I wanted a simple, textured, tiered cake so that when we added florals, they would pop! It was the best cake I’ve ever had!! I ate it for days following the wedding.
What advice do you have for folks currently planning a wedding? My biggest advice is to plan ahead and find help. So many decisions can get overwhelming and it’s great to have various perspectives. Take it day by day, and don’t get bogged down in the details. People appreciate details, but they don’t pay nearly as much attention to them as you do.
What’s next for you as a couple? What are you most looking forward to about married life? We bought a home! We are looking forward to some down time this winter, to cooking, to spending time together without the wedding planning stress, and to our honeymoon in Japan next fall.

Photographer: Ashleigh Jayne / Videographer: Bride Film and Street Car Films / Planner: Elyse Skansi of Tying the Knot / Venue and Catering: New Orleans Botanical Gardens / Florist: Kim Starr Wise / Cake Baker: Bittersweet Confections / Rentals and Lighting: Event Rentals / DJ: Larry DeWitt Music Source / Ceremony Music: Harry @ New Orleans Classical and Jazz / Paper Products: Paper Source / Bride’s Gown: “Eloquence” by Claire Pettibone / Bridal Salon: Little White Dress / Bride’s Jewelry: Nordstrom / Hair and Makeup: Kiss and Makeup / Bride’s Shoes: Jimmy Choo / Men’s Attire: Men’s Wearhouse / Transportation: Alert Transportation

Tying the Knots is a delightful member of our Blue Ribbon Vendor Directory!

lisa Written with love by Lisa
4 Comments
  1. avatar Emily reply

    What a stunning gown!! I love it paired with the bridesmaid dresses!

  2. avatar Dana reply

    the back of her dress is so gorgeous! so are the flowers!

  3. avatar Robyn Van Dyke reply

    Oh that DRESS!!! *swoon*

  4. avatar Valerie reply

    Wow, simply gorgeous! Her gown is incredible.

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Tradition is BIG in the South. It’s woven throughout our lives, from how we make our beds to how we design our homes (with wide front porches, obviously!). Nowhere is it more present, though, than when we’re planning our weddings. Whether we’re toasting with the same flutes our grandparents did, carrying a hankie embroidered with the initials of all of our siblings, or cutting our cake with a knife engraved with three generations of wedding dates, the past has a way of making itself known on the day we say “I do.” We filled this shoot with ways — both new and old — to honor your past and celebrate your future. Add in the abundance of gardenias and graceful Spanish moss, and you’ve got the inspiration for a sweetly Southern soiree.

Nancy Ray photographed all the beautiful details, including this stationery suite by Regas. I adore the magnolia envelope liner!

We were lucky to have sweet readers standing in for our models this time around. Stacie and Nick, newlyweds themselves, posed as our bride and groom, and Alex and Ashley stood in as bridesmaids.

This lovely gown is the “Blossoming Weir” from BHLDN. With detailing like that, you’d hardly need any jewelry at all.

I love this alternative ring pillow!

As soon as we saw the City Club at de Rosset in Wilmington, we knew it would be just perfect for this particular shoot — after all, the shutters were the exact shade of green we were incorporating elsewhere! We adored the wide front porch and all the silver details.

Aren’t these notes the sweetest? Hardink Calligraphy penned them for us, and we think they’d be such a lovely addition to a small wedding. Your guests would certainly feel welcomed and loved, no matter how good (or bad!) your own handwriting is!

Gardenias are a notoriously fragile flower, which is why we love the clay version from DK Designs. They’re a perfect takeaway for guests, and look lovely gracing a dinner plate or napkin!

This gorgeous cake pull set is available from Weddings Etc. Read more about the cake pull tradition here!

That about sums it up, does it not? Beautiful work by Hardink Calligraphy! Be sure to pick up your copy of V5 to see even more goodness from this shoot!

Nancy Ray and Hardink Calligraphy are fabulous members of our Blue Ribbon Vendor Directory!

emily Written with love by Emily
25 Comments
  1. avatar Jessica Thornton reply

    We had magnolia leaves in the sanctuary for our wedding ceremony! Being from Mississippi, we love our state flower!

  2. avatar Megan reply

    Hi! I have a question for yall! I’m wanting to get an embroidered patch of my initials and wedding day put on the inside of my wedding dress. Do I use my maiden monogram or my new monogram?

    • avatar Marissa reply

      Hi Megan! I’m so excited to hear you’re going to do a monogram inside your wedding dress. Traditionally one puts their maiden monogram inside their wedding dress. This was done long ago as a way to identify who wore the gown when it had been passed down. Wishing you all the best! xx

  3. avatar Lisa reply

    Gorgeous calligraphy and magnolias…two of my weaknesses!

  4. avatar Dee Shore reply

    Gosh I love that BHLDN gown. It’s so understated, yet so pretty. The cake is STUNNING. It’s my new obsession ruffled cakes.

  5. avatar Kate Collison reply

    Ahhh! I’ve been collecting charms for weeks for the charm pull we’ll have at our wedding! Hydrangeas will be everywhere. I love this shoot! It’s so classic and relates to “real-life” brides very well! Thank you!

  6. avatar Kristyn M reply

    Can we buy that print at the very end? I want to frame it for my home! Its perfect!

  7. avatar A Southern Wedding Full of Tradition | Bride’s Blog reply

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  8. avatar Cameron reply

    Oh my goodness, this shoot is beautiful! The calligraphy and the classy southern touches….wonderful! Can’t wait for the V5 to be in my hands so I can swoon over this some more! Thanks for the Spring inspiration….there’ s so many great ideas here!!

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